Bonhams' sale of collectible cars in Paris next year will feature a wide range of classic automobiles, but one in particular will have the royal seal of approval.
The auction on the Grand Palais on February 11 will include a classic 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 Sports Saloon, which was once owned by King Baudouin of Belgium.
Baudouin, who reigned in Belgium from 1951 until his death in 1993, was renowned for his love of fast cars. As well as having this Aston Martin, described in Autocar (1953) as 'an expensive car designed to cater for the connoisseur of sports cars who is not limited by financial considerations', he also owned a Porsche Spyder and was passionate about Maseratis.
Accompanied by photographs of King Baudouin with his brother (the present King Albert II), the car is in concours condition following its complete restoration to original specification between 2001 and 2008 and has a pre-sale estimate of $262,900 - $315,500.
The auction will also include a further car owned by another well-known Belgian figure, the financier, Baron Empain. The 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Sports Saloon was delivered new to Baron Empain in 1956 and kept until 1960, and is estimated at $262,900 - $328,700.
In addition, collectors will have the chance to pick up a number of pre-war greats including a 1930 Alfa Romeo Grand Sport Zagato, first raced by the political activist and amateur racing driver Luigi Scarfiotti in the 1930 Mille Miglia and estimated at $1,249,000 - $1,577,000, a 1929 Alfa Romeo Supersport ex-Campari with a value of $986,000 - $1,249,000 and a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K cabriolet C priced at $591,000 - $788,000.
The 2011 calendar is already starting to fill up with some spectacular car sales, and the Bonhams auction in Paris should attract serious collectors and investors from around the world.
Figures from this year have showed that collectible cars are quickly becoming one of the most popular alternative assets, with some models offering a 47% increase in value over just four years. And with the market growing stronger and competition between bidders increasing sale after sale, 2011 could well see those figures rise further still.
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